The Business of Fitness

Thanks to the rise of national discourse on healthy eating and the positive impact of exercise on overall health, more consumers are joining health clubs and making fitness a central focus of their lives. According to a recent report from IBISWorld, the gym and fitness franchise industry is experiencing robust growth as consumers educate themselves and become more well informed. Due to this health-conscious climate, health club memberships have steadily been on the rise, benefiting gym franchises in particular as greater demand from a larger gym-going demographic is encouraging franchise expansion. Many franchisors, in an effort to develop larger client bases and respond to the growing popularity of boutique gyms, have offered more franchise opportunities over the past five years.

As the business of fitness continues to grow and evolve, it is imperative that fitness franchises stay competitive through a multitude of strategies, from specialized service offerings to strategic partnerships, in order to continue growing and expanding.

Strategic Growth & Partnerships: People

As you look to expand your brand, be diligent and selective about the franchisees that you bring on board. Ensure that they are people you will want to do business with for years to come, and focus on the quality of the franchise versus quantity. A small number of franchisees that are the right fit for your brand will be more successful than a large number of unqualified operators who could tarnish the reputation of your brand.

While business acumen should always be at the top of the list of requirements for new franchisees, a passion for the fitness industry is an undeniable added benefit. Operators that love the industry and are excited about growing your brand are in the best position to succeed.

Focus on Service: Process

Whether your brand is a big box or boutique concept, service needs to remain the number one priority for your franchise in order to build a loyal customer base and sustain growth. At the end of the day, fitness is a member-focused business that should revolve around customer service. From the moment a member steps through the door, they should be treated respectfully by the front desk workers, personal trainers and whoever else comes in contact with them. There are too many health club options for customers to choose from today to be treated poorly at your business.

Specialized Offerings: Programming  

It is very important to understand how the fitness landscape is changing due to consumer tastes, and to be open to developing additional offerings in order to meet your members’ needs and demands. Whether it’s adding new group fitness classes to the mix or changing up the types of classes offered at your gym, customers today are looking for new workout options that will help them most effectively achieve their fitness goals.

Corporate Wellness Programs

Businesses are also taking note of the benefits that regular exercise has on the health of their employees, and are creating corporate wellness programs as a way to encourage employees to work out consistently. Workplace wellness programs are now used by more than two-thirds of U.S. businesses and it has become a $6 billion industry.

The health outcomes of corporate wellness programs are many, including smoking cessation, weight loss and obesity prevention, diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol management. This, in turn, benefits businesses by lowering absenteeism, increasing job satisfaction and work productivity, improving employee retention, and lowering health care costs. Gyms and health clubs should be taking advantage of this rise in corporate wellness programs as an additional revenue stream beyond memberships.

If you are in the business of fitness, you must keep an open mind and be adaptable. Our consumers are always changing, which means that we should be, too. Gold’s Gym has built a winning strategy by offering a fitness product differentiated by our people, our process and our programming, and it’s imperative to have a strategy built around a core belief that drives your organization every day.

Brandon Bean is the CEO of Gold’s Gym, the world’s trusted fitness authority since 1965. From its humble beginnings as a small gym in Venice, California, Gold’s Gym has grown into a global icon with more than 700 locations serving 3 million people across six continents each day.

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